21 Jump Street (4 stars)

21 Jump Street

Deceptively smart big screen revival of the once popular TV show, with Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill


Taken at face value, 21 Jump Street is another mis-matched buddy cop outing that mixes elements from the original television series, Superbad coming-of-age values and the gung-ho rhetoric of Michael Bay's action movies. But there's a subversive quality about the film too, that acknowledges all of the above while creating an identity of its own.

Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill play the chalk-and-cheese cops at the centre of the story, who are asked to go undercover at a local high school in order to break up a drugs ring. Hence, all of the adolescent problems they thought they had walked away from come back to haunt them, only in reverse, as geeks have suddenly become the new cool while the good looking jocks struggle to find their place.

Co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller bring the same kind of irreverent style to 21 Jump Street as they did with their animated debut Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and have a blast either toying with convention or sticking two fingers up at it completely. They also make the most of a surprisingly strong partnership between leading men Hill and Tatum, with the latter of the two displaying a fine sense of comedic timing.

The result is a film that plays well to the demographic it's clearly aimed at while offering the potential for broader appeal. It's often hilariously executed and even when taking things a little too far remains endearing thanks to the appeal of its central duo. And that's not even mentioning the surprise scene-stealing cameo...

General release from Fri 16 Mar.

21 Jump Street - Official Trailer [HD]

21 Jump Street

  • 4 stars
  • 2012
  • US
  • 1h 49min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Phil Lord/Chris Miller
  • Cast: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube
  • UK release: 16 March 2012

Revamp of 80s TV series: youthful cops (Tatum & Hill) go undercover at a high school in order to break up a drugs ring. Directors Lord and Miller tease genre conventions and Hill and Tatum form a strong comic partnership. What might have been yet another buddy movie is surprisingly hilarious.

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